- A Tesla Model S crashed into a police vehicle in California on Tuesday morning while Autopilot was engaged.
- The police department vehicle was empty at the time of the collision, while the driver of the Model S sustained minor injuries, Jim Cota, a public information officer for the Laguna Beach Police Department, wrote on Twitter.
- Tuesday’s collision marks the latest in a string of crashes involving Autopilot.
A TeslaModel S crashed into a police vehicle in California on Tuesday morning while Autopilot was engaged.
Sergeant Jim Cota, a public information officer for the Laguna Beach Police Department, posted photos of the incident’s aftermath on Twitter. Cota wrote that the vehicle had Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature activated when it crashed into a parked police department vehicle. The police department vehicle was empty at the time of the collision, while the driver of the Model S sustained minor injuries, Cota wrote.
Cota told Business Insider that the Model S was travelling at around 40-45 mph when it veered off a highway and hit the police department vehicle, which sustained significant damage.
Tuesday’s collision marks the latest in a string of crashes involving vehicles with Autopilot activated.
On May 11, a Model S crashed into a fire department vehicle in Utah. A report Tesla provided to the South Jordan Police Department said the driver took her hands off the wheel over 12 times during the drive, including for the 80 seconds before the collision.
In March, a Model X crashed into a highway barrier in California. The driver, Walter Huang, died after being taken to the hospital. Tesla said Huang had received several warnings to put his hands on the wheel during the drive.
Two months earlier, a Model S crashed into a fire department vehicle in California while Autopilot was engaged.
Tesla has repeatedly said drivers must be attentive, keep their hands on the wheel, and be able to take control of the vehicle when using Autopilot, which is not a fully autonomous system. The system can keep a car in its lane and adjust its speed based on surrounding traffic.
“When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” a Tesla representative told Business Insider.
While some competitors, like General Motors, Nissan, and Daimler, have also introduced driver assistance features with similar capabilities, others are nervous about including semi-autonomous systems in their vehicles because they fear drivers will place too much trust in them and fail to pay attention to the road.
Tesla has received criticism for how it has promoted Autopilot. On Wednesday, Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Auto Safety sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate the strategies the company has used to sell the feature.
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